The Surprising Science Behind Drying Your Hair

Hair drying— something we all do with vastly different approaches. There’s those of us who wrap up our post-shower hair in a towel and let it do its thing. There’s those who towel off the excess water and then let it drip dry. Some of us blast out the moisture ASAP with a hair dryer on high heat. Then, there’s the meticulous group which brushes out the hair and dries it on a cool setting.

Talk about time consuming. In fact, women spend an average of an hour and a half blow drying their hair each week, according to a new survey. That’s a lot of time spent on the not-so-fun parts of hair care. We’d all like to reclaim some of that time. Maybe swap out that 90 minutes for the new Netflix flick everyone’s talking about that you still haven’t gotten around to.

This week, we’re covering all the hair drying bases. We’ll dive into the science of why some drying methods work, and why some others don’t. Apologies in advance if we come for your drying habits— but we promise you’ll be better off with some tweaking. Also on the list? Saving time.

Learning more about your hair is a serious opportunity for return on investment. Snipping out just five minutes from your daily routine and embracing a streamlined hair drying regimen can earn you over half an hour over the course of a week. That adds up.

The other great thing? These changes don’t involve that much of an investment on the front end. Let’s get started and begin saving your hair and your time.

Demystifying Hair Care Jargon

Let’s get into the terms. There are a lot of words floating around that we kinda understand, but can’t actually describe with confidence. Let’s end that.

These five words play a major role in blow drying— directly and indirectly. Understanding what they mean helps you to get the products you need, and gives additional insight into what's going on up there.

  • Keratin— our first science term! Keratin is a type of hair protein— think of it as a primary building block which plays a role in constructing each strand of hair. The special part? Keratin is extra strong and not as prone to damage as other molecules in our body. Some products include extra keratin which helps to boost hair health and refine hair structure.
  • Follicle— a follicle is the small cavity which your hair emerges from. Follicles directly affect hair growth and health. It serves as a reminder that hair development is a process that starts from the root, so we can’t ignore scalp care in our hair care regimen!
  • Brassy— this is the often unwanted orange tones which show up more obviously in light-colored hair. It can be caused by minerals in water, and not using color-correcting shampoo and conditioner. Odds are, you’ll be noticing unwanted brassiness when you blow dry.
  • Clarifying— this term refers to removing buildup from the hair and scalp. We’re talking about all the products that tag along in the day to day. This process plays a role in keeping hair shiny, combatting brassiness contributors, and knocking away dullness.
  • Deep Conditioning— we aren’t talking about your normal conditioning here. Deep conditioner is a supercharged hair nourishment step which goes the extreme mile in hydrating and supporting hair needs.

The Science You’re Missing

Don’t worry, we’re going to break this down. We’re not here to smother you with hard to understand concepts and jargon. In fact, we think that’s counterintuitive. Understanding our bodies in a comprehensive, science-rooted manner is one of the strongest tools in beauty. That doesn’t mean running after impossible-to-pronounce ingredients, but instead, having a basic understanding of why certain products and routines work how they do.

This might be the best way to catch an edge across your beauty routines— decipher the cluttering advertising messages out there and get your skin and hair what it needs to look its best.

First, we’re going to take a look at the biological structure of hair, what happens when it is wet and when it is blow-dried.

It all begins right as we get out of the shower. Hair is at peak wetness, but there’s more to it than what meets the eye. When your hair is wet, it’s at a naturally weakened state.

This brings us to the first step of the blow drying process. Don’t brush wet hair. Why? Wet hair is strained and prone to breakage. You’ll be better off using a wide-tooth comb and being slow and strategic about your comb strokes.

The next science-rooted tip: don’t let your hair dry naturally. This one might be surprising, but there’s data to back it up. When hair is submerged or saturated with water for long periods of time, the individual strands swell up. Remember the keratin mentioned earlier? The more your hair swells, the more disrupted the hair proteins (such as keratin).

This is one of the leading factors of hair damage. Get this: letting your hair air dry can be almost as damaging as drying it on too-high heat. No air dry, no high heat. Alright but how does someone dry their hair then?

This leads us to the scientifically-proven best way to dry your hair. It factors in both hair health, and final appearance.

The best way to dry your hair is to allow it to partially air dry (to a point where swelling is minimal) and then dry it to completion on low heat. Keep in mind that super high fan speeds aren’t optimal for super-damp hair, as it’ll cause the same tension that a brush would cause. Save the higher speeds for later on when your hair is more dry.

Next up, technique. So what does research tell us regarding the steps of the actual blow dry? Dry in sections. It’ll ensure a more even, complete dry. Work up and down each section on low heat, and then move on to the next once it’s mostly dry.

Flip it upside down! Drying hair upside down is a surefire way to boost hair volume. Start at the root and work down toward the tip. Remembering to focus on the roots when drying will give you increased lift.

Now for the finishing touch. Working cool air across your hair at the end of a blow dry seals your look in place by reinforcing your hair’s internal bonds. Hair prefers cool to heat. That’s why experts also advise finishing a shower with cold water to tighten up the hair and boost shine.

Saving Time Blow Drying

Want to speed up the drying process without compromising the results or your hair’s health? Here are the top pointers to follow, all research-backed and biology driven.

  • Ionic Blow Dryers Reign Supreme

Ionic dryers spit out ions when they dry, which break up water droplets and speed up drying time. They also facilitate the landscape of your hair by reducing frizz and  wiping out static. Science for the win, once again.

  • Lightly Squeeze Excess Water

That extra ounce of water distributed throughout your hair adds a few extra minutes to the drying process. Without being too abrasive, squeeze out some of the extra water from your hair after you turn off the shower before you get out. Boom, extra time.

  • Leave Hair Products for Later

When you want a speedy dry, save applying products for after the blow dry. Products can affect the way your hair dries and stall drying time.

  • Attachments Are Your Best Friend

Concentrator attachments can help direct the air flow toward the hair strand. Sometimes wide air flow can cause some of the drying power to be lost. Use a concentrator to make sure the flow stays focused and your hair gets through the drying process quicker than ever before.

Innovation in Your Corner

The revolutionary AER dryer is designed with hair science in mind. We dove into the chemistry of hair products, the biology of hair strands, and the physics of ionization to help educate beauty lovers around the globe.

Finding the truth behind which products work and which don’t can be frustrating and involve an extensive gauntlet of trial and error. There’s an expedited way to determine what products and routines are worth adopting. That’s where AER takes pride. One of our main focuses has always been to empower beauty lovers to understand what works and why it works.

AER possesses a commitment to hair health and science that’s unparalleled throughout the beauty styling tool landscape. Here are some of the ways we deliver:

  • Advanced AI environmental sensors which determine exactly how to dry your hair for stunning results while also safeguarding hair health.
  • Built in DC ionizer which reduces frizz-causing static and greatly accelerates dry times using research-backed engineering.
  • Cordless functionality which allows untethered drying in rooms outside of your fogged up bathroom, increasing drying results and styling flexibility.
Join the dryer that’s outsmarting previous industry leaders and starting a whole new wave in proven and expressive hair care.